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PaMAGIC President's Letter 2020

04/20/2020 1:18 PM | Patrick McKinney (Administrator)
PaMAGIC's Position on House Bill 2101

April 2020

Dear PAMAGIC Members and Friends,

This past year has been an exciting and busy one for PaMAGIC including ongoing work and leadership with the State Geospatial Coordinating Board (GeoBoard), Hydro Workshops, statewide Geospatial Meetups, supporting the PA Rural Edge Working Group hosted by ESRI, hosting a Python workshop at the NW PA GIS Conference, and kicking off our new Education and Outreach initiative that targets introducing and advancing geospatial technologies for K-12 students. We have strengthened our internal communication as a Board as well, adopting various technologies to better manage our initiatives and provide more support to our members. You can say as a Board we have undergone our own internal digital transformation. This year was also a challenging year as our Founder and past President Eric Jespersen stepped into an advisor role after serving many years as a PaMAGIC leader. Many of our members and the Pennsylvania GIS community know Eric Jespersen, often sighted supporting all the meetups across the state and working diligently with the Hydro Workshop Group. Eric also ensures all PA GIS Conference attendees can enjoy a relaxing InfoSwap every year. His presence and determination helped keep many of our initiatives moving along, something the Board including myself valued. We thank Eric for his leadership and commitment to GIS across the Commonwealth.

PaMAGIC continues to work closely with the GeoBoard, which was formed in 2014 to "provide recommendations to the Governor and the public on geospatial issues, uniform data standards, coordination and efficiency in geospatial policy and technology across different sectors." Through our GeoBoard representative Dave Gilbert, PaMAGIC continues to have a voice on ranging topics that are included on the agenda, and we look to our members to continue to support the items we present to the GeoBoard and also recommend new topics that are meaningful to you and the work that you do. This year, the PaMAGIC Board discussed House Bill 2101, a resurrection of House Bill 1106 which the PaMAGIC Board reviewed in 2017. In 2017 the Board agreed upon a position paper for HB 1106, essentially not supporting the language in the bill. While our Board could not agree on a definitive position on HB 2101 this year, our members had an opportunity to review and comment on our agreed upon draft position paper. While HB 2101 raised many questions with our Board regarding the language, we appreciated and value the response we received from our members. We look forward to a productive 2020-2021 with the GeoBoard.

PaMAGIC's Position on House Bill 2101

PaMAGIC continues to support various initiatives in industries that support our vision. This past year PaMAGIC and the DCNR Bureau of Geological Survey hosted the Sixth Annual Data Workshop which focuses on the creation of a single, authoritative stream database for the Commonwealth. Three workshops were hosted across the Commonwealth covering the Susquehanna, Delaware, and Ohio Basins. We continue to organize and foster the growth of the GIS community in the Commonwealth through our Regional Activity initiative. This past year PaMAGIC has sponsored regional meetups in the southeast region (Philadelphia), the capital region (Harrisburg), the southwest region (Pittsburgh), and our new Lehigh Valley region. We hope you have the opportunity to join one of our regions to informally collaborate and share strategies with other professionals at a local venue and maybe even get a job offer ͙... yes, it happened at one of our meetups. We look forward to working with our partners to expand the content and the offerings of these meetups in 2020-2021.

This past year PaMAGIC kicked off our new K-12 initiative, which is aimed to support GIS teachings in Pennsylvania's public and private schools, and also helps further our mission to ͞educate communities governments and corporations in the development of GIS and GIS data. The PaMAGIC Board recognized a need for the redevelopment and expansion of the existing programs. As we all know, GIS technology changes rapidly and it seems overwhelming at times to keep pace with industry patterns and practices. This initiative aims to ensure K-12 schools have access to these technologies. This is a new initiative, and we hope our members that are passionate about education and GIS find time to learn more about participating in this great endeavor. While we continue to make progress on the established initiatives, we are always looking forward to hearing from you, our members. We hope you find time to participate in one of our initiatives or recommend one that is meaningful to the work you do.

Thank you for being a part of the PaMAGIC family and supporting the growth of GIS in the Commonwealth. Please encourage your network to explore PaMAGIC. It is a very exciting time to be a PaMAGIC member. We have lots of ongoing initiatives, upcoming events, and even industry focused webinars on the horizon. We are focused on expanding our members only content, offering new materials for folks pursuing a GISP. We are exploring ways to keep you connected with our growing member base. Most importantly, we continue to improve the way we communicate and help you succeed in the work you do.

I leave each of our members with a challenge. A challenge to share our mission and vision with one of your colleagues, whether at work or university. A challenge to join us at a meet up near you. A challenge to participate in one of our initiatives. A challenge to help each other, support one another, and help foster the development of our young professionals.

We look forward to working with each of you in 2020-2021.

Sincerely,

Mark Bowen

2019-2020 PaMAGIC President

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